Stories Not Statistics

1 in 5 women will be raped at some point in their lifetime.

1 in 71 men will be raped at some point in their lifetime.

50% of rapists are 29 or younger.

80% of rape occurs by someone the victim knows – a friend, a classmate, a
teacher, a significant other, a spouse, a family member.

More than 50% of college sexual assaults occur in either August, September, October, or November.

Only 344 of 1,000 rapes are reported to the police; it is called “the most underreported violent crime in America.”

63 of these reports lead to arrests.

2% of rapists serve time.

944 of 1,000 rapists walk free.

 94% of women who are raped experience post-truamatic stress disorder symptoms during the two weeks following the rape. 30% report PTSD symptoms 9 months after the rape.

33% of women who are raped contemplate suicide, and 13% attempt suicide.

These are more than just numbers. This is reality.

The victims from Baylor, Stanford, and others whom have come forward with their stories in recent weeks are more than victims: they are people.

The numbers in these statistics are friends whom I have held, as they sobbed in my arms.

They are classmates, sitting through a lecture paralyzed in anxiety as the hospital leaves a message on their phone with the rape-kit results.

They are scars that don’t fade and bruises that don’t heal.

When someone close to you experiences rape and abuse, it is important to learn their story on their terms.

Hear me when I say: even if you think you don’t know a victim of rape, you do.

Some will tell you every detail of their story. Others may keep it a secret forever.

Some will speak publicly against rape, abuse, and pornography. Others may stay silent.

So how do we speak love and truth to our sisters and brothers who have experienced the trauma of rape if we don’t know their names?

  • Evaluate your sense of humor. (Rape jokes are never funny.)
  • Do not say things like “Wow, she’s really asking for it,” about your waitress wearing short shorts.
  • Make “consent” a regular discussion topic within your friend groups, schools, churches, households, etc.
  • Advocate for and invest in organizations and ministries that support abuse victims

Rape is a reality that extends far beyond statistics and new stories. These are our friends, cousins, siblings . . . it very well could even be you reading this. If we believe that each person is a story worth living, it is time for us to look beyond the statistics and enter the trenches with the victims of rape. It is time to walk with, to cry with, to pray with, and to fight with the people who have been treated unjustly.

Each story matters.


Picture: Ryan McGuire /